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Home Improvement 2006  

Favorite projects

  Our interactive package takes you on a room-by-room tour of new ideas at various cost levels.
Remodeling room by room
Project: Kitchen remodel
Remodeling a kitchen is the most expensive project you can tackle. "It's a big investment, but gives a big return," says Tom Silva, general contractor for the TV show "This Old House."
The more practical you keep the work, the more money you get back when you sell. A minor remodeling job will average about $14,913, but you'll recoup about 98.5 percent at sale, according to Remodeling magazine. A major project will average $43,862 and return about 91 percent of cost at sale, while an upscale job will average $81,552, but return only 84.8 percent at sale. And 11 percent of the time, homeowners are actually increasing the size of the kitchen, says the Home Improvement Research Institute.
If your kitchen is small or you're doing a minor remodel, focus on making better use of the space -- upgrading appliances, adding lighting and surfaces to make tasks easier, or even upgrading styles and colors. Another trend: creating a number of workstations, either to allow couples to cook together or to give kids a place to help with food prep or do homework. The newest trend for those with a lot of money and enough space: adding a smaller kitchen, away from the showier area, where the real work takes place.
Because of the complexity of kitchen real estate (electrical meets plumbing meets mechanicals), it pays to leave the heavy lifting to the pros. Good DIY projects involve small, short-term jobs and aesthetic touches, such as adding molding or tile accents, painting or papering, putting new hardware on existing cabinetry, replacing cabinet doors or, if you're really handy, installing flooring.

Picture courtesy of Medallion Cabinetry
-- Posted: April 12, 2006

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